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Herbert Sussman's book explores ideas of manhood and masculinity as they emerged in the early Victorian period, and traces these through diverse formations in the literature and art of the time. Concentrating on representative major figures - Thomas Carlyle, Robert Browning, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Walter Pater - Sussman focuses on areas of conflict and contradiction within their formulation of the masculine. He identifies the development of a 'masculine poetics' as a project which was for the Victorians, and continues to be, crucial to an industrial and commercial age. The book reveals manhood as an unstable equilibrium, and is responsive to the complex ways in which the early Victorians' masculine poetics simultaneously subverts and maintains patriarchal power.
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